Indian Fantail Standard of Perfection

                                                                             Indian Fantail Club of America

                                                                                    Approved August 2020


This Standard is to be used as a guide for both breeding and judging the Indian Fantail. With the Indian we speak of “balance” being all important. Yet no points are allocated to balance. So, what is it? Put simply, balance is the pleasing blending of all parts so that when looked upon, the bird appears complete, as a whole—not visually dominated by an overly large (or small) tail, muffs too long (or short), stance is correct, not tipped too high, nor too forward, nor crouched, nor stretched, etc. The pieces and parts blend well. The stance, body, head, neck, chest, back, tail, muffs, wings—everything is in its proper proportion; the end result is an attractive package—a balanced bird! The Mini Indian Fantail shall be identical in every aspect to the Standard with the sole exclusion of size.

A pleasing balanced Indian Fantail is our desired goal.


  1. Tail – 20
  2. Stance – 20
  3. Legs, Muffs & Hocks – 10
  4. Breast, Neck & Frontal – 10
  5. Back – 5
  6. Head/Eyes – 5
  7. Crest – 5
  8. Wings & Flights – 5
  9. Feathering – 5
  10. Condition – 5
  11. Color/Marking– 5
  12. Body Size – 5

Total – 100


1. Tail – 20 points

The ideal tail should be full, (not gappy or weak), round, held nicely upright and wrap to about a ¾+ circle, and should allow the flights to fit comfortably under the tail so the tips are not pushed to the ground. The tail should not be overly flat, nor too scooped (coned), but have a pleasant, slightly concave shape, similar to a saucer. The tail is to be carried upright, tilted slightly away from the bird’s head.

A double row of feathers is preferred. When properly arranged for show, an even-layering of feathers results, one tucked under the previous feather, similar to “layered shingles.” The feathers should lie flat, be wide and hard in texture (preferred), and align nicely –not twisted, no gaps between the length of the feathers.

The tail is to have no “split” (determined at the base of the tail feathers; a split shows the base of the feather shafts are noticeably separated. (Note: Weak centers, gaps at the tips, Improper grooming, a curved shaft, or poor layering of the tail are not to be confused with a split.)

The backing, or cushion feathers, are to be upright, proportionately wide, not crooked, fitting tightly against the tail and centered. The tail should not angle, tilt or tip to one side. The judge is to use discretion here and should move such a bird down in ranking. Both tail and cushion feathers are to be upright and centered.

Faults – Tail:

  1. A flat tail, or too coned tail
  2. Wrap not reaching at least half-way
  3. Twisted, broken, crooked, missing feathers, or small V-gaps between (at the tips), weak center.
  4. Bottom tail feathers dragging the ground.
  5. Overly loose, or crooked cushion feathers or tail.
  6. A disproportionate, unbalanced, excessive top-tail, or too short a tail for balance.
  7. Overly soft tail feathers, difficult to arrange

(Note: with all Faults in all categories, only points are to be deducted; a Fault is not a DQ.)

2. Stance– 20 points

Without proper stance, we have no truly unique Indian Fantail. Other breeds have fanned tails, or partial fantails. But the combination of a beautiful, open, large tail, and the stance, give the “impression of near levelness…” and with an upright neck, create a unique look. Proper stance allows the pieces-and-parts of our Indian to fall into harmonious Balance.

Proper stance is achieved when the bird is not nervous, nor crouching, nor stretched upward, but is comfortable and standing solidly on its feet, not tip toed. The body carriage will give the general impression of “levelness.” There will be a graceful slight tilting up of the breast. (Refer to the standard drawing.)

The tail should be carried upright, at a slight angle away from the head. The desired distance from the back of the head to the tail is an approximate head’s length (the beak not included). Further, the top of the bird’s head will reach about halfway up the tail (thus allowing “top tail” that is about equal to the length of the bird’s neck/head, when properly stationed).

The carriage of the neck is to give the impression it is vertical to the ground, not overly pulled back, thus allowing the eyes to be over the tips of the covered toes.

There should be “air” under the bird’s belly to demonstrate proper leg length, not crouching or appearing so low we do not see space under the bird (see Drawing):

Faults – Stance:

  1. Tail too tight to the head or tilted too far back; an “umbrella tail” is the worst of the two faults.
  2. Carrying breast too high, or crouching forward, or no clearance under the bird.
  3. Head pulled back too far, into an “S” curve, resulting in eyes not over tips of toes.

3. LEGS, MUFFS & HOCKS – 10 points

The legs are medium in length, allowing the bird’s body to be elevated off the ground, giving visual clearance under the bird’s belly, but should not appear ‘stretched’ upward. By contrast, the bird should not appear to be sitting on the ground, or low crouching. Legs are to be solidly placed, feet flat on the ground, not up on the toes. (The ideal length from under the breast, in front of leg shaft, about 1” – 1 ½” off the ground, and a wider leg position under the body is preferred; see Drawing).

The muffs are to be in proportion to the overall bird, providing an appearance of a “foundation” under the bird (see the Standard Drawing for approximate, visual length and the shape: a “rounded,” sweeping-back curve). The hocks are to approximate the length of the muffs…the hocks blending up into the bird’s body. Muffs are to cover all toes.

Faults – Legs/Muffs/Hocks:

  1. Muffs not covering the toes.
  2. Muffs excessively long, or too short, or “grouse-leg” in feather covering.
  3. Legs so short, no ground clearance, or legs so long it appears “leggy.”

4. BREAST, NECK & FRONTAL – 10 points

The breast, neck and overall “frontal” area of the bird, is to be very full, wide, and thick in appearance, giving the impression of power! The shape of the breast is to be full, broad, round and even. The neck is to be medium in length, and full (but not so full it eliminates the back space), and the head and neck carried proudly vertical to the ground, not tucked down, pulled back, or stretched long. Breast feathering should smoothly cover the wing butts.

Faults – Breast, Neck, & Frontal:

  1. Breast flat in front, not nicely rounded and full.
  2. Neck shaking (one or two shakes when put first in the show cage is not the Fault, but frequent, nervous shaking).
  3. Neck overly long, or appearance of “no neck”
  4. An excessively sharp, pronounced keel bone indicating lack of breast muscle.

5. BACK – 5 points

The “back” is defined as the area from the base of the neck to the beginning of the rise of the tail, show some spacing. Our Indian Fantail is to visually have three parts: a front, middle, and a tail. The “middle” is defined by being able to see a bit of the ‘back’. A “short-back” bird is too tight, the base of the neck and rump join together, or tail too tight to the head; a “long-back” bird shows too much spacing along the back area, tail dropped or tilted too far back. The “medium-backed” bird looks like our Drawing, the back sweeping up: Just right!

Faults – Back:

  1. No back space, or too long in the back

6. HEAD/EYES/BEAK – 5 points

The head is to be in pleasing proportion to the bird, with a rounded front skull (not pinched). The head will be greater in length, than width (not a “round” head). In all instances the eyes are to be both the same color, appear alert, and showing no splits or cracks in the pupil or iris. The eye cere and nose wattle are to be refined, not coarse, and proportioned to the bird’s overall head. Darker birds, dark beak; lighter, light beak.

Faults – Head/Eyes/Beak:

  1. A pinched, narrow forehead/face.
  2. Head too small, or too large to body proportion.

7. CREST – 5 points

The crest and its position on the Indian’s head are essential to giving the Indian a unique, refined appearance, and is a finishing point for the head, hence, its importance. The strongly preferred crest is a small, peak crest, coming to a sharp point. Acceptable is a small shell crest, cupped slightly in the center. The crest should be basically in alignment with the beak-eye line, at the top-back of the head (see Drawing).

Faults – Crest:

  1. Positioned too low; crooked, or to one side.
  2. Rough, ragged looking crest, lose or looking more like a mane, or too large of a shell shape.

8. Wings & Flights – 5 points

The butt of the wings should not be apparent but blend harmoniously into the feathering of the breast. The wings and flights are to be carried in line with the body, to support the impression of “levelness.” The flights are to be carried under the tail, and not to touch the ground. They are to be medium length.

Faults – Wings & Flights:

  1. Wing butts showing excessively.
  2. Flights too long (out of balance).
  3. Flight tips touching the ground.
  4. Missing or broken flights

9. FEATHERING – 5 points

An Indian Fantail’s feather is to be hard-to-medium in texture and lie smoothly. Not a soft-feathered fluff-ball. Hard feathering is preferred, especially in the tail.

Faults – Feathering:

  1. Overly soft, loose, fluffy feathering…

10. CONDITION – 5 points

Proper conditioning (or not) is a combination of things: cleanliness, grooming, the bird not finished with the molt, health, parasites (or not), etc. A bird should be alert, healthy, well groomed, clean and free of visible parasites. Also, signs of parasites (holes) should be at an absolute minimum, preferred is none at all.

Faults – Condition:

  1. Dirty, or poorly groomed
  2. Still molting with missing, broken, or crooked feathers.
  3. Excessive signs of parasites, or excessive holes.

11. COLOR/ MARKING – 5 points


Rich, clean, vibrant color in any breed is wonderful to see and enjoy. Points are to be allocated according to the level of success the breeder has achieved in a particular color or use of a color modifier (milky, rec red, dirty, almond, etc.). Birds that are too dark, too faint, or oddly colored but still recognizable to a specific color or modifier are to be shown with that Color Class.

With a solid, “self” colored bird, if random pied feathers are found, this is not part of “Markings” but an incorrectly colored bird and the judge will deduct Color points according to the severity of the random pied feathering.

Colors are to be rich and lustrous with both intense and dilute colored birds according to the color or color modifiers being expressed. Example: a rich shiny iridescent Black is preferred over a “slate gray,” unimproved Black. A clean wing shield on a barred or checked bird is preferred over a sooty (fake check) wing shield. A rich, “almond-nut” base color is preferred over a lighter color base in the “classic” Almond, etc.

Faults — Color:

  1. Weak, unclean, or not rich coloring for the color or pattern modifier that is being expressed.
  2. Random pied feathers in a Self (solid colored) bird.

Note: In judging classes AOC (Any Other Color) does not mean a Mismarked bird class. It is a class intended to hold those birds where only one or two have been entered, and have no other competition. The Show Secretary and District Director will determine those few birds. These individuals will move the birds to AOC to create a class holding the few colors (or marks) to create competition, or their own class. A “mismarked” bird unidentifiable as to mark may end up in AOC.


Markings are defined where a breeder isolates color to a specific area (or areas) of the bird to create a unique, “not-natural” marking. The recognized marked birds are saddles, tail marks, monk marks and body marks.


Faults — Markings:

    1. Under or over marked. Example: A bishoped saddle or tail mark with white feathers in the tail.


Birds in this class should be first and foremost judged for overall balance, per our Standard. The feathering will be a mixture of random pure white (NOT GRIZZLED) and colored feathers, or a grouping or clustering of white and colored feathering throughout the entire body and ideally will include tail, muffs, and flights. The “ideal” pied effect will be a “gut-reaction” for all who see it, a striking mixture of pied white and color throughout the bird. It will not be recognizable to a specific marking nor seen as a pied black, blue, brown excetera. The randomness and frequency of the white feathering will give the visual effect of a coarse Splash. A pied bird with a solid colored tail and flights is most likely a Tiger Grizzle and should be entered in that class.   Pied feathers are not grizzled; they are pure white mixed in with pure alternating colored feathers. Grizzles are to be entered in their respective Grizzle classes.

1. Birds entered MUST BE randomly pied, not recognizable as a mismarked Tailmark, Saddle, Bodymark, Monkmark, etc. Mismarked birds must be entered in their respective markings classes, per Section 11, Subsection B).

2. Nor should a bird be a solid self of any color with just a few random, off-color (usually white) feathers. Those birds must be submitted in their recognizable self-color class Section 11, Subsection A).

3. There will not be 5 Color points awarded a Pied Bird, as there will/should not be enough self-coloring to truly determine excellence of “color.” Note: A Randomly Pied bird is usually not controlled by the breeder. Many are “accidents” or “surprises”. This Class is not to be awarded the extra points for breeding difficulty, as we have for Color, or Marking … which are controlled by selective breeding and should be recognized for difficulty in achievement, and thusly rewarded per our Standard.

4. The Pied Class winner will be eligible to participate in Champion Row, for the Championship, and will have a 5-point deficit not receiving Color or Marking points.

12. BODY– 5 points

It is encouraged not to forget the importance of body in good breeding. A well-bred body is an achievement. The body should feel solid, well-fleshed and firm to the hand, each part in keeping with others giving perfect balance while having the feeling of strength and smoothness.  Visual “size” is not what we are going for. Too big of a tail or too-loosely feathered birds (thereby larger-appearing) is not the objective. Solid, superior bodies and breeding toward Balance is the goal. 

 Faults – Body: 

  1. Excessively Small.
  2. A bird that appears to be or is actually light.

A) The Mini Indian Fantail will be seven (7) inches or less from the feet to the top of the head when in proper station. The smaller bird to be preferred both visually and body weight. With all else being equal, the advantage should go to the smaller bird.

Faults – Body:

  1. Over 7 inches but less than 8 when in proper stance.


The judge is to use common sense, and discretion before disqualifying a bird. Always remember you may be disqualifying a first-time exhibitor’s, or a Junior’s bird, therefore do so compassionately and with adequate explanation:

  1. A split in the tail — the shafts will be apart at the base. (Note: Two feathers side-by-side that have crooked shafts and V- apart, or otherwise “gap” is not a true split but should be governed under Faults [gaps/weak center, etc.].)
  2. Intentional lacing of the tail (judges are to use common sense here; e.g., if a few feathers are interlocked, flick them apart and proceed; if a tail is obviously laced, wholly or in part, in an orderly fashion, it is a DQ).
  3. Significantly crooked or canted tail, or cushion feathers.
  4. Eyes not of the same color, cracks or splits.
  5. No crest.
  6. Cut feathers, or excessive plucking.
  7. Any sick, crippled, maimed, or filthy bird.
  8. Excessive signs of/or seeing excessive parasites.
  9. Mini Indians over 8 inches tall.


Those who have not yet judged a show may not fully appreciate the difficulty, at times, in determining which of two pigeons the better is. At times they may be terribly, terribly close overall in cumulative points (they do not have to be “identical” or “visually equal” to end up with the same sum of points). At other times a judge may have two birds in a class that are average, and still end up with basically identical total points… yet they are the best of the grouping. The judge has to then make some determinations and use a tie-breaking system beyond the points.

The next area explains the guide for the judge to use, which goes beyond the point system. These following three tiebreakers (A, B, C) are listed in order of importance.

TIE-BREAKERS — In Order of Importance

For Classes & Champion Row

A. Markings If a solid self or self-patterned bird and a marked bird are in a Champion Row show down and the birds are very close (points being different per body part, but in the judge’s mind, sum to about the same total), the judge recognizing the difficulty in the breeding achievement of a superior marking, is to give preference to the Marked bird.

B. COLOR: If two birds (whether Self, or Marked) are very close (points being different per body part but in the judge’s mind sum to a same total) the judge recognizing the breeding difficulty in the achievement of superior color, is to give preference to the superior-colored bird.

C. SIZE: In that rarest of occasions a judge is faced with two birds of superior quality in Balance, Color and Markings, the judge may then determine which bird has an edge in breeding excellence; recognizing the difficulty in achieving outward Balance, plus maintaining, and achieving Size, preference is to be given the larger-bodied bird, how it feels in the hand. In the case of Mini Indian Fantails preference is to be given to the smaller-bodied bird.

MARKINGS defined:

Birds that are mismarked, but still recognizable to the Mark (say, a Saddle, or Tailmark) must be shown with that Mark, not in AOC [Any Other Color]).

With a solid, “self” colored bird, if pied feathers are found, this is not part of “Markings” but is a discolored bird (say, a Black with white in muffs, or rump, etc).

Markings are defined where a breeder isolates color to a specific area (or areas) of the bird to create a unique, “not-natural” marking; e.g., Saddles; Tailmarks; Bodymarks; Monkmarks, etc.

Natural “Patterns,” as in wing and tail bar, checking, t-pattern, grizzle, almond, and natural, light-gray ribbons occurring in Ash Reds… are not Markings. Patterns are natural, inherent evolutions within pigeons, and are not breeder-caused, per se; e.g., bars and checkers show up naturally in wild pigeons; saddles do not. A light-gray Ribbon is a natural pattern in the Ash Red family, as is a “white” ribbon in some Dominant Opals.

Tiger Grizzle: The natural feather patterning of white and colored body feathers, with a solid colored tail, found in Tiger Grizzles, is not a Marking. It is a natural, self-reoccurring “pattern” which the breeder did not create; however, Color does come into play with Tiger Grizzle. (Tiger’s in some breeds are referred to as Mottles, and Splashes, such as Trumpeters, as one example.)

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